As I promised in the last blog post, I’m going to give you some simple points that we have found to be very effective (and Biblical) while sidewalk counseling to help those going into an abortion clinic change their mind and choose life. You may only have a few seconds to reach them as they hurry into the abortion center, but what you say in those few seconds can mean the difference between life and death. Also, don’t forget that God knows every situation, so you should always be in prayer and seek to be in tune with the Holy Spirit, yielding your mouth and heart to Him.
However, before I get into things you should say when calling out to those going into an abortion clinic, think about how you would react when people you don’t know, call out to you. If their tone seems full of anger then you’re likely to either respond with anger yourself, or just ignore them and keep moving.
Like it or not, your tone does matter when you’re trying to get someone to listen to you. We train our sidewalk counselors here in Charlotte that “Your tone will set the tone.” If you have an angry tone, don’t be surprised if you get an angry response. If your tone is frantic, then an already frantic woman seeking an abortion is not likely to listen to a person whose tone conveys what they are already feeling.
A gentle, compassionate, but firm tone of voice is effective in reaching those going into an abortion clinic. It may be something that you need to practice, but if you ask the Lord to put His compassion for these babies and women in your heart, it will come out in your tone. Now let’s move on to the three points.
Point 1 – What God Says about Their Baby and Abortion
God’s opinion on any subject is far more important than ours. As I wrote in the previous post, He should be first in all we do. Therefore, it is important that we convey to those going into an abortion clinic what His word says about what they are doing. I’m not suggesting that you yell “God hates hands that shed innocent blood!” or “Thou shall not murder!” every time someone gets out of their car or every time you see someone walking down the sidewalk headed to the abortion center.
What we’ve found from talking to many moms who have chosen life, is that on their way to the abortion center, many of them are praying, asking God “What do you say about this?” Let’s allow God to use our tongue to answer that question. Here in Charlotte we commonly call out “Your baby was created by God for a purpose!” or “Momma your baby is loved by God and deserves to be protected!” These simple phrases will touch a moms heart and remind her of what God thinks about her baby and about abortion. You certainly could say “abortion is murder” and the bible says “you shall not murder!” I’m in no way against that because it’s the biblical truth, but given the short time frame that we have to say something, that’s not typically what we would start with. Keep in mind one of the things you are seeking to do is plant seeds of truth and trust.
The woman you are calling out to has essentially put her trust in abortion and in the abortion center. Your goal is to help them see that their trust should really be in the Lord. On the sidewalk, you are a representative of the Lord and you want to try to gain their trust, in the short time you have to address them. If the first thing they hear from you is perceived as accusatory, it doesn’t help build trust with them and can often speed up their rush into the abortion center.
Point 2 – The Humanity of the Baby
Another important topic that you should seek to touch on, as a woman is entering the abortion center, is the humanity of her baby. She needs to be reminded of the simple, but life-changing, truth that her baby is a living person and not a clump of cells. The abortion industry, still using age-old pro-choice arguments, will still refer to the baby in the womb as a clump of cells or a blob of tissue. Another term they use to refer to the baby, in order to dehumanize the child, is ‘your pregnancy’. Of course, this is just language the abortion industry and the ‘pro-choice’ movement uses to mask the reality that these babies are very much alive, and abortion kills a living human being.
So how do we counteract lies? We speak the truth. The fact is, that the moms going into an abortion center are going to find out the truth about their baby at some point. Our goal is to inform them of the truth about their baby before they make the horrible and irreversible decision to end the life of their baby. Some of the things that we commonly call out to those going into an abortion center are “Your baby’s heart is already beating!” or “Your baby has brainwaves as early as 6 weeks!”. It’s vitally important to be correct in what you’re saying. Medical science is on our side when it comes to the truth that a baby in the womb is alive, and there are copious amounts of information regarding the development of a baby. Statistically, the majority of abortions take place in the first trimester, so it’s not vital to talk about the development of the baby past 12 weeks, but there are a lot of important things that happen in the first trimester that show babies are unique and precious, who deserve to be protected.
Point 3 – Practical Help for Their Situation
The final point I want to touch on that can be crucial in helping a woman change her mind about abortion, as she is walking into an abortion clinic, is offering practical help for her and her baby. Many women come to an abortion center because they are overwhelmed by circumstances and pressure of their situation. Over the years our sidewalk counselors have dealt with every situation under the sun. We’ve dealt with anything from sex-traffic victims, to domestic abuse situations, and situations where a woman thinks she needs an abortion because she has no money to buy items for her baby.
One thing I want to address before we talk about offering practical resources is there’s this attitude that many, even well-meaning Christians, have that implies that if you can’t meet every need a woman has, then you can’t tell her not to have an abortion. That’s a ridiculous notion. If you had nothing but your voice to plead with a mother not to abort her child, you would still be perfectly justified in being there at the abortion clinic and calling these moms to turn to the Lord because, after all, they are killing children inside of the abortion center. Thankfully, however, the Lord has graciously provided many, many resources to meet the needs of women and families who feel like abortion is their only option. Again, you can’t meet every need, but having a few key resources to offer to those going into an abortion clinic can go a long way in getting them to reconsider abortion, as well as gain their trust.
Making a connection to a nearby pregnancy center and offering their services is a good resource to offer. You could say “Momma there’s a pregnancy center just a few minutes away that will give you a free pregnancy test and ultrasound!”. Oftentimes the abortion clinic will draw women in who may still be on the fence about abortion with a free or low-cost pregnancy test and/or ultrasound. Once inside the abortion center after the pregnancy test is done, and it’s positive, they will try to sell abortion.
Another practical resource you could offer is free baby items. Maybe there’s a clothing ministry or your local pregnancy center has a baby shower ministry or maybe your local church would be willing to do a baby shower for a mom that chooses life. You could say “Momma we would love to throw you a baby shower to give you baby items you need for you and your baby!” By the way, doing a baby shower in your local church is a good way to help folks in your church see the importance of being involved in sidewalk counseling ministry. They get to see the fruit of your labors and that will encourage them to get involved with what the Lord is doing.
Collecting a list of resources can be difficult work, but there are a lot of organizations that have resources to meet practical needs and offering these resources to moms going into an abortion center is a great way to help them choose life so the effort you put into finding resources is well worth it. We plan to put a blog post out in the next few weeks that will give you some help and encouragement in finding and compiling a list of practical resources- so keep a look out for that post.
There is, of course, a lot more that can be said about these three points and there are other effective points that you can use to help a woman choose life. These are the three main ones that we have seen to be most effective over the years spent on the sidewalks in front of our local abortion centers.